Saint Leo cross country teams prepare to take on the SSC

Saint Leo cross country teams prepare to take on the SSC

SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo men's and women's cross country teams will have championship trophies in their sights as they head to Melbourne, Fla., for Saturday's 2016 Sunshine State Conference Cross Country Championships.

The conference will gather at Melbourne's Wickham Park for the men's 8K race, which begins at 7:45 a.m., followed by the women's 6K race at 8:30 a.m. The exceedingly flat Wickham Park course could offer some incredibly fast times, especially with Saturday race time temperatures expected to be in the low- to mid-60s range.

"I think the key will definitely be being aggressive early on in the race and setting in a good position at least to come home… with the win," said Kent Reiber, Saint Leo's head men's and women's cross country coach.

The men's team will be going for a third-straight SSC crown, while the women will be after their second title in three seasons after capturing the 2014 championship but finishing second last season. The Saint Leo men are currently ranked fourth in the South Region regional ranking by the USTFCCCA, two spots behind Florida Southern. In the women's South Region poll, the Lions continue to hold the top spot while Tampa is ranked fourth.

Both Saint Leo teams head into the SSC meet with arguably the two most dominant runners in the SSC this season, each of whom won USTFCCCA National Runner of the Week honors during the 2016 season.

Veteran Colett Rampf will be after her third straight individual SSC women's cross country title, and has already enjoyed some record-setting performances this season. Rampf clocked a 20:23 at the Lehigh University Paul Short Run 6K race – a faster time than the current SSC Championship record of 20:25.73 set back in 2004.

Newcomer Ronald Cheserek, who like Rampf has been Saint Leo's top finisher in every race this season, also set a new Saint Leo 8K record this season in just his third collegiate race. He has captured SSC runner of the week honors four times during his rookie campaign. Cheserek has posted a pair of times this season that are lower than the current SSC Championship 8K record of 24:26.43.

Admission and parking at the 2016 SSC Cross Country Championships are both free of charge. Championship records, course maps, and links to information on all participating teams are available online at www.sunshinestateconference.com.

For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo women's cross country teams, be sure to visit SaintLeoLions.com.  Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Youtube.